Stress Anna Ashby and Paulina Novak by YogaClicks


About

Stress can wreak havoc on our health – triggering diabetes, headaches, and depression, and fuelling heart attacks, strokes, and auto-immune diseases like multiple sclerosis.

Physiologically yoga, meditation and mindfulness have been associated with changes to the balance of the autonomic nervous system - towards (relaxed) parasympathetic dominance, helping to calm the adrenal glands, reducing blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels, improving hormone function and oxygen uptake. This can make them helpful stress management tools.

Clinical studies have pointed towards a significant effect on perceived stress levels; creating a positive state of mind, increasing stress resilience and the ability to cope, reducing feelings of anger and fatigue, cultivating self-compassion, and improving your sense of wellbeing and quality of life.

Practicing asana, or physical postures to wring the tension out of tired muscles can help you relax.

Focusing on deep, slow breathing using pranayama, or breathing exercises, can slow the mind and calm an overworked nervous system.

Taking time on your mat, away from intrusive and stressful thoughts, can help put them into perspective and restore a sense of balance.


What the clinical studies say

Yoga
  • Faster recovery from stress in Shavasana than in chair and resting supine posture
  • Improves health status
  • Improves hormone function
  • Improves oxygen uptake
  • Improves quality of life
  • Improves urinary catecholamines
  • Improves work performance
  • Increases melatonin
  • Increases stress resilience
  • Induces relaxation
  • Pronounced and significant improvements in perceived stress
  • Reduces anger
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Reduces heart rate
  • Reduces risk factors for diseases including cardio-respiratory diseases
  • Reduces salivary cortisol
  • Stabilises the autonomic nervous system, towards parasympathetic dominance
Mindfulness
  • Creating a positive state of mind
  • Decreases post traumatic stress avoidance symptoms
  • Improves ability to cope
  • Improves coping strategies
  • Improves quality of life
  • Improves self-compassion
  • Improves self-esteem
  • Improves wellbeing
  • Increases mindfulness
  • Reduces effects of daily hassles
  • Reduces medical symptoms
  • Reduces psychological distress
  • Reduces psychological symptoms
  • Reduces stress

The clinical studies

Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Objective:

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a structured group program that employs mindfulness meditation to alleviate suffering associated with physical, psychosomatic and psychiatric disorders. The program, nonreligious and non esoteric, is based upon a systematic procedure to develop enhanced awareness of moment-to-moment experience of perceptible mental processes. The approach assumes that greater awareness will provide more veridical perception, reduce negative affect and improve vitality and coping. In the last two decades, a number of research reports appeared that seem to support many of these claims. We performed a comprehensive review and meta-analysis of published and unpublished studies of health-related studies related to MBSR.

Methods:

Sixty-four empirical studies were found, but only 20 reports met criteria of acceptable quality or relevance to be included in the meta-analysis. Reports were excluded due to (1) insufficient information about interventions, (2) poor quantitative health evaluation, (3) inadequate statistical analysis, (4) mindfulness not being the central component of intervention, or (5) the setting of intervention or sample composition deviating too widely from the health-related MBSR program. Acceptable studies covered a wide spectrum of clinical populations (e.g., pain, cancer, heart disease, depression, and anxiety), as well as stressed nonclinical groups. Both controlled and observational investigations were included. Standardized measures of physical and mental well-being constituted the dependent variables of the analysis.

Results:

Overall, both controlled and uncontrolled studies showed similar effect sizes of approximately 0.5 ( P < .0001) with homogeneity of distribution.

Conclusion:

Although derived from a relatively small number of studies, these results suggest that MBSR may help a broad range of individuals to cope with their clinical and nonclinical problems.
Citations

1961
Authors

Paul Grossman | Ludger Niemann | Stefan Schmidt | Harald Walach
Published

2004
Journal

Journal of Psychosomatic Research
Volume / Issue

57:1
Author's primary institution

Freiburg Institute for Mindfulness Research. Freiburg Germany
A randomised comparative trial of yoga and relaxation to reduce stress and anxiety
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Objective:

To compare yoga and relaxation as treatment modalities at 10 and 16 weeks from study baseline to determine if either of modality reduces subject stress, anxiety, blood pressure and improve quality of life.

Design::

A randomised comparative trial was undertaken comparing yoga with relaxation.

Participants::

One hundred and thirty-one subjects with mild to moderate levels of stress were recruited from the community in South Australia.

Interventions: :

Ten weekly 1-h sessions of relaxation or hatha yoga. Main outcome measures::

Changes in the State Trait Personality Inventory sub-scale anxiety, General Health Questionnaire and the Short Form-36.

Results: :

Following the 10 week intervention stress, anxiety and quality of life scores improved over time. Yoga was found to be as effective as relaxation in reducing stress, anxiety and improving health status on seven domains of the SF-36. Yoga was more effective than relaxation in improving mental health. At the end of the 6 week follow-up period there were no differences between groups in levels of stress, anxiety and on five domains of the SF-36. Vitality, social function and mental health scores on the SF-36 were higher in the relaxation group during the follow-up period.

Conclusion: :

Yoga appears to provide a comparable improvement in stress, anxiety and health status compared to relaxation.
Citations

200
Authors

Caroline Smith | Heather Hancock | Jane Blake-Mortimer | Kerena Eckert
Published

2006
Journal

Complementary Therapies in Medicine
Volume / Issue

15:2
Author's primary institution

University of South Australia, Australia
Sustained Impact of MBSR on Stress, Well-Being, and Daily Spiritual Experiences for 1 Year in Academic Health Care Employees
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Objectives:

The objectives of the study were (1) to evaluate self-reported stress levels and daily spiritual experiences in academic health care employees before, immediately after, and 1 year after enrolling in a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) course; and (2) to evaluate the correlation between a potential measure of pulse rate variability and self-reported stress levels.

Subjects:

Fifty-nine (59) participants in the MBSR course offered to employees at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston (UTMB) comprised the intervention group, and 94 health care providers in the neonatal nurseries comprised the control group. Intervention: MBSR is an 8-week course that introduces mindfulness meditation practices. No intervention was offered to the control group. All participants were employees (or relatives of employees) at UTMB.

Design:

All MBSR participants completed Cohen's Perceived Stress Scale, the SCL-90, the SF-36 Measure of Health and Well-Being, the Daily Spiritual Experiences Scale, and a 5-minute measure of pulse rate coherence. This testing was done before and after the MBSR course and 1 year later. Ninety-four (94) neonatal health care providers completed the same series of questionnaires and pulse rate variability (PRV) measures, with 49 of the 94 completing the questionnaires 2 months and 1 year later.

Results:

MBSR participants improved on all measures except the physical component score of the SF-36 upon completion of the MBSR course, and these results were maintained at the 1-year follow-up. The control group did not significantly change on any of the measures. PRV as measured by the Heart Math system did not correlate with any of the self-report questionnaires.

Conclusions:

MBSR effectively reduces self-report measures of stress and increases daily spiritual experiences in employees in an academic health care setting, and these effects are stable for at least 1 year. Using a simple measure of PRV was not a clinically reliable biologic measure of stress.
Citations

21
Authors

Cara Geary | Susan L. Rosenthal
Published

2011
Journal

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Volume / Issue

17:10
Author's primary institution

Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
Sudarshan kriya yogic breathing in the treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression: Part II-clinical applications and guidelines
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Yogic breathing is a unique method for balancing the autonomic nervous system and influencing psychologic and stress-related disorders. Part I of this series presented a neurophysiologic theory of the effects of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY). Part II will review clinical studies, our own clinical observations, and guidelines for the safe and effective use of yoga breath techniques in a wide range of clinical conditions.

Although more clinical studies are needed to document the benefits of programs that combine pranayama (yogic breathing) asanas (yoga postures), and meditation, there is sufficient evidence to consider Sudarshan Kriya Yoga to be a beneficial, low-risk, low-cost adjunct to the treatment of stress, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, stress-related medical illnesses, substance abuse, and rehabilitation of criminal offenders. SKY has been used as a public health intervention to alleviate PTSD in survivors of mass disasters.

Yoga techniques enhance well-being, mood, attention, mental focus, and stress tolerance. Proper training by a skilled teacher and a 30-minute practice every day will maximize the benefits. Health care providers play a crucial role in encouraging patients to maintain their yoga practices.
Citations

260
Authors

Richard P. Brown | Patricia L. Gerbarg
Published

2005
Journal

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Volume / Issue

11:4
Author's primary institution

Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY
Evaluation of a Wellness-based Mindfulness Stress Reduction Intervention: A Controlled Trial
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Purpose:

To determine if participation in a Wellness-Based Mindfulness Stress Reduction intervention decreases the effect of daily hassles, psychological distress, and medical symptoms.

Design:

A randomized controlled trial of a stress reduction intervention with a 3-month follow-up.

Setting:

A university setting in West Virginia.

Subjects:

A total of 103 adults, with 59 in the intervention group and 44 in the control group. Eight-five percent of subjects completed the intervention. Fifty-nine percent and 61% of the intervention and control subjects completed the study, respectively.

Intervention:

The intervention consisted of an 8-week group stress reduction program in which subjects learned, practiced, and applied “mindfulness meditation” to daily life situations. The control group received educational materials and were encouraged to use community resources for stress management.

Measures:

The Daily Stress Inventory assessed the effect of daily hassles, the Revised Hopkins Symptom Checklist measured psychological distress, the Medical Symptom Checklist measured number of medical symptoms, and a Follow-up Questionnaire measured program adherence.

Results:

Intervention subjects reported significant decreases from baseline in effect of daily hassles (24 %), psychological distress, (44 %), and medical symptoms (46 %) were maintained at the 3-month follow-up compared to control subjects (repeated measures analysis of variance [ANOVA] p < . 05).Conclusions. Self-selected community residents can improve their mental and physical health by participating in a stress reduction intervention offered by a university wellness program.

Conclusion:

Self-selected community residents can improve their mental and physical health by participating in a stress reduction intervention offered by a university wellness program.
Citations

229
Authors

Kimberly A. Williams | Maria M. Kolar | Bill E. Reger | John C. Pearson
Published

2001
Journal

American Journal of Health Promotion
Volume / Issue

15:6
Author's primary institution

Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia University, P.O. Box 9820, Morgantown, WV 26506-9820, USA
Mindfulness, Stress and Coping Among University Students
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

A sample of 135 first-year university students living in residence completed questionnaires that measure individual differences in mindfulness, coping styles, and perceived stress.

Findings revealed significant positive relationships between mindfulness and rational coping, and significant negative relationships with emotional and avoidant coping and perceived stress. Regression analyses revealed that avoidant coping and perceived stress predicted 38.2% of the variance of mindfulness scores.

Findings from this study improve our understanding of how mindfulness relates to coping styles, thereby suggesting potential ways to enhance counseling service and programming for first-year university students during the often difficult transition to university.
Citations

31
Authors

Angele Palmer | Susan Rodger
Published

2009
Journal

Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy
Volume / Issue

43:3
Author's primary institution

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Health Care Professionals: Results From a Randomized Trial.
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

The literature is replete with evidence that the stress inherent in health care negatively impacts health care professionals, leading to increased depression, decreased job satisfaction, and psychological distress. In an attempt to address this, the current study examined the effects of a short-term stress management program, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), on health care professionals.

Results from this prospective randomized controlled pilot study suggest that an 8-week MBSR intervention may be effective for reducing stress and increasing quality of life and self-compassion in health care professionals. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.
Citations

555
Authors

Shauna L. Shapiro | John A Astin | Scott R Bishop | Mathew Cordova
Published

2005
Journal

International Journal of Stress Management
Volume / Issue

12:2
Author's primary institution

Santa Clara University
Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Relationships were investigated between home practice of mindfulness meditation exercises and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms, perceived stress, and psychological well-being in a sample of 174 adults in a clinical Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program.

This is an 8- session group program for individuals dealing with stress-related problems, illness, anxiety, and chronic pain. Participants completed measures of mindfulness, perceived stress, symptoms, and well-being at pre- and post-MBSR, and monitored their home practice time throughout the intervention. Results showed increases in mindfulness and well-being, and decreases in stress and symptoms, from pre- to post-MBSR.

Time spent engaging in home practice of formal meditation exercises (body scan, yoga, sitting meditation) was significantly related to extent of improvement in most facets of mindfulness and several measures of symptoms and well-being. Increases in mindfulness were found to mediate the relationships between formal mindfulness practice and improvements in psychological functioning, suggesting that the practice of mindfulness meditation leads to increases in mindfulness, which in turn leads to symptom reduction and improved well-being.
Citations

644
Authors

James Carmody | Ruth A. Baer
Published

2007
Journal

Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Volume / Issue

31:1
Author's primary institution

Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Role of yoga in stress management.
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

The state of the mind and that of the body are intimately related. If the mind is relaxed, the muscles in the body will also be relaxed. Stress produces a state of physical and mental tension. Yoga, developed thousands of years ago, is recognized as a form of mind-body medicine.

In yoga, physical postures and breathing exercises improve muscle strength, flexibility, blood circulation and oxygen uptake as well as hormone function. In addition, the relaxation induced by meditation helps to stabilize the autonomic nervous system with a tendency towards parasympathetic dominance. Physiological benefits which follow, help yoga practitioners become more resilient to stressful conditions and reduce a variety of important risk factors for various diseases, especially cardio-respiratory diseases.
Citations

85
Authors

O Parshad
Published

2004
Journal

The West Indian Medical Journal
Volume / Issue

53:3
Author's primary institution

Department of Basic Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, Kingston 7, Jamaica, West Indies. 
Stress Management: A Randomized Study of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Yoga
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

In this study, a stress management program based on cognitive behavioural therapy principles was compared with a Kundalini yoga program.

A study sample of 26 women and 7 men from a large Swedish company were divided randomly into 2 groups for each of the different forms of intervention; a total of 4 groups. The groups were instructed by trained group leaders and 10 sessions were held with each of groups, over a period of 4 months.

Psychological (self‐rated stress and stress behaviour, anger, exhaustion, quality of life) and physiological (blood pressure, heart rate, urinary catecholamines, salivary cortisol) measurements obtained before and after treatment showed significant improvements on most of the variables in both groups as well as medium‐to‐high effect sizes. However, no significant difference was found between the 2 programs.

The results indicate that both cognitive behaviour therapy and yoga are promising stress management techniques.
Citations

174
Authors

Jens Granath | Sara Ingvarsson | Ulrica von Thiele | Ulf Lundberg
Published

2006
Journal

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
Volume / Issue

35:1
Author's primary institution

Department of Psychology and Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS) , Stockholm University , Stockholm, Sweden
Rapid stress reduction and anxiolysis among distressed women as a consequence of a three-month intensive yoga program.
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Background:

Emotional distress is an increasing public health problem andHatha yoga has been claimed to induce stress reduction and empowerment in practicing subjects. We aimed to evaluate potential effects of Iyengar Hatha yoga on perceived stress and associated psychological outcomes in mentally distressed women.

Material/Methods:

A controlled prospective non-randomized study was conducted in 24 self-referred female subjects (mean age 37.9+/-7.3 years) who perceived themselves as emotionally distressed. Subjects were offered participation in one of two subsequential 3-months yoga programs. Group 1 (n=16) participated in the first class, group 2 (n=8) served as a waiting list control. During the yoga course, subjects attended two-weekly 90-min Iyengar yoga classes. Outcome was assessed on entry and after 3 months by Cohen Perceived Stress Scale, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Profile of Mood States, CESD-Depression Scale, Bf-S/Bf-S' Well-Being Scales, Freiburg Complaint List and ratings of physical well-being. Salivary cortisol levels were measured before and after an evening yoga class in a second sample.

Results:

Compared to waiting-list, women who participated in the yoga-training demonstrated pronounced and significant improvements in perceived stress
Citations

247
Authors

Andreas Michalsen | Paul Grossman | Ayhan Acil | Jost Langhorst | Rainer Lüdtke | Tobias Esch | George Stefano | Gustav Dobos
Published

2005
Journal

Medical Science Monitor
Volume / Issue

0.46666666667
Author's primary institution

Department of Integrative and Internal Medicine V, Kliniken Essen-Mitte, Chair of Complementary Medicine at the University Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Yoga for stress reduction and injury prevention at work.
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

At work employees face numerous psychological stressors that can undermine their work performance. These stressors, stemming from a variety of possible causes, have enormous health and financial impacts on employees as well as employers.

Stress has been shown to be one of the factors leading to musculo-skeletal disorders (MSDs) such as: include back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder or neck tension, eye strain, or headaches.

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that can reduce stress and relieve muscular tension or pain. Practicing yoga at the workplace teaches employees to use relaxation techniques to reduce stress and risks of injury on the job. Yoga at the workplace is a convenient and practical outlet that improves work performance by relieving tension and job stress.
Citations

57
Authors

Shira Taylor Gura
Published

2002
Journal

Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation
Volume / Issue

19:1/2002
Author's primary institution

In-Alignment, Inc., 1450 Catherine Drive, Berkeley, CA 94702
Recovery from stress in two different postures and in Shavasana - a yogicrelaxation posture.
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

The recovery from induced physiological stress in Shavasana (a yogic relaxation posture) and two other postures (resting in chair and resting supine posture) was compared.

Twenty one males and 6 females (age 21-30 yrs) were allowed to take rest in one of the above postures immediately after completing the scheduled treadmill running. The recovery was assessed in terms of Heart Rate (HR) and Blood pressure (BP). HR and BP were measured before and every two minutes after the treadmill running till they returned to the initial level.

The results revealed that the effects of stress was reversed in significantly (P < 0.01) shorter time in Shavasana, compared to the resting posture in chair and a supine posture.
Citations

50
Authors

T.K. Bera | M.M. Gore | J.P.Oak
Published

1998
Journal

Indian J Physiol Pharmacol
Volume / Issue

42: 4
Author's primary institution

Scientific Research Department, Kaivalyadhama S.M.Y.M Samiti, Lonavla 410 403
Mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction: experience with a bilingual inner-city program.
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

This article describes a bilingual mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction program in an inner-city setting.

Mindfulness meditation is defined, and the practices of breathing meditation, eating meditation, walking meditation, and mindful yoga are described. Data analysis examined compliance, medical and psychological symptom reduction, and changes in self-esteem, of English- and Spanish-speaking patients who completed the 8-week Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program at the Community Health Center in Meriden, Conn.

Statistically significant decreases in medical and psychological symptoms and improvement in self-esteem were found. Many program completers reported dramatic changes in attitudes, beliefs, habits, and behaviors. Despite the limitations of the research design, these findings suggest that a mindfulness meditation course can be an effective health care intervention when utilized by English-and Spanish-speaking patients in an inner-city community health center.

The article includes a discussion of factors to be considered when establishing a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction program in a health care setting.
Citations

123
Authors

B Roth MSN | T. Creaser MSN
Published

1997
Journal

The Nurse Practitioner
Volume / Issue

22:3
Author's primary institution

Stress Reduction Program, Community Health Center, CT, USA
Medical Yoga for Patients with Stress-Related Symptoms and Diagnoses in Primary Health Care: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

An increasing number of patients are suffering from stress-related symptoms and diagnoses.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the medical yoga treatment in patients with stress-related symptoms and diagnoses in primary health care. A randomized controlled study was performed at a primary health care centre in Sweden from March to June, 2011. Patients were randomly allocated to a control group receiving standard care or a yoga group treated with medical yoga for 1 hour, once a week, over a 12-week period in addition to the standard care. A total of 37 men and women, mean age of  years were included.

General stress level (measured using Perceived Stress Scale (PSS)), burnout (Shirom-Melamed Burnout Questionnaire (SMBQ)), anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS)), insomnia severity (Insomnia Severity Index (ISI)), pain (visual analogue scale (VAS)), and overall health status (Euro Quality of Life VAS (EQ-VAS)) were measured before and after 12 weeks.

Patients assigned to the Yoga group showed significantly greater improvements on measures of general stress level, anxiety, and overall health status compared to controls. Treatment with medical yoga is effective in reducing levels of stress and anxiety in patients with stress-related symptoms in primary health care.
Citations

14
Authors

Monica Kohn | Ulla Persson Lundholm | Ing-liss Bryngelsson | Agneta Anderzen-Carlsson | Elisabeth Westerdahl
Published

2013
Journal

Evidenced based complementary and alternative medicine
Volume / Issue

2013
Author's primary institution

Nora Health Care center, Orebro county council, Nora, Sweden Department of Occupational and environmental Medicine, Orebro University Hospital, Orebro, Sweden Centre for Health Care Sciences, Örebro University Hospital, P.O. Box 1324, 701 13 Örebro, Swe
Diaphragmatic Breathing Reduces Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Diaphragmatic breathing is relaxing and therapeutic, reduces stress, and is a fundamental procedure of Pranayama Yoga, Zen, transcendental meditation and other meditation practices. Analysis of oxidative stress levels in people who meditate indicated that meditation correlates with lower oxidative stress levels, lower cortisol levels and higher melatonin levels. It is known that cortisol inhibits enzymes responsible for the antioxidant activity of cells and that melatonin is a strong antioxidant; therefore, in this study, we investigated the effects of diaphragmatic breathing on exercise-induced oxidative stress and the putative role of cortisol and melatonin hormones in this stress pathway. We monitored 16 athletes during an exhaustive training session. After the exercise, athletes were divided in two equivalent groups of eight subjects. Subjects of the studied group spent 1 h relaxing performing diaphragmatic breathing and concentrating on their breath in a quiet place. The other eight subjects, representing the control group, spent the same time sitting in an equivalent quite place. Results demonstrate that relaxation induced by diaphragmatic breathing increases the antioxidant defense status in athletes after exhaustive exercise. These effects correlate with the concomitant decrease in cortisol and the increase in melatonin. The consequence is a lower level of oxidative stress, which suggests that an appropriate diaphragmatic breathing could protect athletes from long-term adverse effects of free radicals.
Citations

31
Authors

Daniele Martarelli | Mario Cocchioni | Stefania Scuri | Pierluigi Pompei
Published

2011
Journal

Evidenced based complementary and alternative medicine
Volume / Issue

N/A
Author's primary institution

Department of Experimental Medicine and Public Health, University of Camerino, Via Madonna delle Carceri, 62032 Camerino, Macerata, Italy
Effects of sensory-enhanced yoga on symptoms of combat stress in deployed military personnel
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Objective

We examined the effects of sensory-enhanced hatha yoga on symptoms of combat stress in deployed military personnel, compared their anxiety and sensory processing with that of stateside civilians, and identified any correlations between the State–Trait Anxiety Inventory scales and the Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile quadrants.

Method

Seventy military personnel who were deployed to Iraq participated in a randomized controlled trial. Thirty-five received 3 wk (=9 sessions) of sensory-enhanced hatha yoga, and 35 did not receive any form of yoga.

Results

Sensory-enhanced hatha yoga was effective in reducing state and trait anxiety, despite normal pretest scores. Treatment participants showed significantly greater improvement than control participants on 16 of 18 mental health and quality-of-life factors. We found positive correlations between all test measures except sensory seeking. Sensory seeking was negatively correlated with all measures except low registration, which was insignificant.

Conclusion

The results support using sensory-enhanced hatha yoga for proactive combat stress management.
Citations

22
Authors

Carolyn C. Stoller, Jon H. Greuel, Lucy S. Cimini, Mary S. Fowler, Jane A. Koomar
Published

2012
Journal

The American Journal of Occupational Therapy
Volume / Issue

66
Author's primary institution

Cotting School, 453 Concord Avenue, Lexington, Massachusetts
Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Importance

Many people meditate to reduce psychological stress and stress-related health problems. To counsel people appropriately, clinicians need to know what the evidence says about the health benefits of meditation.

Objective

To determine the efficacy of meditation programs in improving stress-related outcomes (anxiety, depression, stress/distress, positive mood, mental health–related quality of life, attention, substance use, eating habits, sleep, pain, and weight) in diverse adult clinical populations.

Evidence Review

We identified randomized clinical trials with active controls for placebo effects through November 2012 from MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, PsycArticles, Scopus, CINAHL, AMED, the Cochrane Library, and hand searches. Two independent reviewers screened citations and extracted data. We graded the strength of evidence using 4 domains (risk of bias, precision, directness, and consistency) and determined the magnitude and direction of effect by calculating the relative difference between groups in change from baseline. When possible, we conducted meta-analyses using standardized mean differences to obtain aggregate estimates of effect size with 95% confidence intervals.

Findings

After reviewing 18 753 citations, we included 47 trials with 3515 participants. Mindfulness meditation programs had moderate evidence of improved anxiety (effect size, 0.38 [95% CI, 0.12-0.64] at 8 weeks and 0.22 [0.02-0.43] at 3-6 months), depression (0.30 [0.00-0.59] at 8 weeks and 0.23 [0.05-0.42] at 3-6 months), and pain (0.33 [0.03- 0.62]) and low evidence of improved stress/distress and mental health–related quality of life. We found low evidence of no effect or insufficient evidence of any effect of meditation programs on positive mood, attention, substance use, eating habits, sleep, and weight. We found no evidence that meditation programs were better than any active treatment (ie, drugs, exercise, and other behavioral therapies).

Conclusions and Relevance

Clinicians should be aware that meditation programs can result in small to moderate reductions of multiple negative dimensions of psychological stress. Thus, clinicians should be prepared to talk with their patients about the role that a meditation program could have in addressing psychological stress. Stronger study designs are needed to determine the effects of meditation programs in improving the positive dimensions of mental health and stress-related behavior.

Many people use meditation to treat stress and stress-related conditions and to promote general health.1,2 To counsel patients appropriately, clinicians need to know more about meditation programs and how they can affect health outcomes. Meditation training programs vary in several ways, including the type of mental activity promoted, the amount of training recommended, the use and qualifications of an instructor, and the degree of emphasis on religion or spirituality. Some meditative techniques are integrated into a broader alternative approach that includes dietary and/or movement therapies (eg, ayurveda or yoga).

Meditative techniques are categorized as emphasizing mindfulness, concentration, and automatic self-transcendence. Popular techniques, such as transcendental meditation, emphasize the use of a mantra in such a way that it transcends one to an effortless state where focused attention is absent. Other popular techniques, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction, emphasize training in present-focused awareness or mindfulness. Uncertainty remains about what these distinctions mean and the extent to which these distinctions actually influence psychosocial stress outcomes.

Reviews to date report a small to moderate effect of mindfulness and mantra meditation techniques in reducing emotional symptoms (eg, anxiety, depression, and stress) and improving physical symptoms (eg, pain).These reviews have largely included uncontrolled and controlled studies, and many of the controlled studies did not adequately control for placebo effects (eg, waiting list– or usual care–controlled studies). Observational studies have a high risk of bias owing to problems such as self-selection of interventions (people who believe in the benefits of meditation or who have prior experience with meditation are more likely to enroll in a meditation program and report that they benefited from one) and use of outcome measures that can be easily biased by participants’ beliefs in the benefits of meditation. Clinicians need to know whether meditation training has beneficial effects beyond self-selection biases and the nonspecific effects of time, attention, and expectations for improvement.

An informative analogy is the use of placebos in pharmaceutical trials. A placebo is typically designed to match nonspecific aspects of the “active” intervention and thereby elicit the same expectations of benefit on the part of the provider and patient in the absence of the active ingredient. Office visits and patient-provider interactions, all of which influence expectations for outcome, are particularly important to control when the evaluation of outcome relies on patient reporting. In the situation when double-blinding has not been feasible, the challenge to execute studies that are not biased by these nonspecific factors is more pressing. To develop evidence-based guidance on the use of meditation programs, we need to examine the specific effects of meditation in randomized clinical trials (RCTs) in which the nonspecific aspects of the intervention are controlled.

The objective of this systematic review is to evaluate the effects of meditation programs on negative affect (eg, anxiety, stress), positive affect (eg, well-being), the mental component of health-related quality of life, attention, health-related behaviors affected by stress (eg, substance use, sleep, eating habits), pain, and weight among persons with a clinical condition. We include only RCTs that used 1 or more control groups in which the amount of time and attention provided by the control intervention was comparable to that of the meditation program.
Citations

135
Authors

Madhav Goyal, Sonal Singh, Eric M. S. Sibinga, Neda F. Gould, Anastasia Rowland-Seymour, Ritu Sharma, Zackary Berger, Dana Sleicher, David D. Maron, Hasan M. Shihab, Padmini D, Ranasinghe, Shauna Linn, Shonali Sah, Eric B. Bass, Jennifer A. Haythornthwaite
Published

2014
Journal

JAMA
Volume / Issue

Author's primary institution

Department of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
Stress reduction in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease: randomized, controlled trial of transcendental meditation and health education in Blacks
Practice
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
Abstract

Background

Blacks have disproportionately high rates of cardiovascular disease. Psychosocial stress may contribute to this disparity. Previous trials on stress reduction with the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program have reported improvements in cardiovascular disease risk factors, surrogate end points, and mortality in blacks and other populations.

Methods and Results

This was a randomized, controlled trial of 201 black men and women with coronary heart disease who were randomized to the TM program or health education. The primary end point was the composite of all-cause mortality, myocardial infarction, or stroke. Secondary end points included the composite of cardiovascular mortality, revascularizations, and cardiovascular hospitalizations; blood pressure; psychosocial stress factors; and lifestyle behaviors. During an average follow-up of 5.4 years, there was a 48% risk reduction in the primary end point in the TM group (hazard ratio, 0.52; 95% confidence interval, 0.29–0.92; P=0.025). The TM group also showed a 24% risk reduction in the secondary end point (hazard ratio, 0.76; 95% confidence interval, 0.51–0.1.13; P=0.17). There were reductions of 4.9 mmHg in systolic blood pressure (95% confidence interval −8.3 to –1.5 mmHg; P=0.01) and anger expression (P<0.05 for all scales). Adherence was associated with survival.

Conclusions

A selected mind–body intervention, the TM program, significantly reduced risk for mortality, myocardial infarction, and stroke in coronary heart disease patients. These changes were associated with lower blood pressure and psychosocial stress factors. Therefore, this practice may be clinically useful in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Citations

59
Authors

Robert H. Schneider, Clarence E. Grim, Maxwell V. Rainforth, Theodore Kotchen, Sanford I. Nidich, Caroyln Gaylord-King, John W. Salerno, Jane Morley Kotchen, Charles N. Alexander
Published

2015
Journal

Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes
Volume / Issue

Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention, Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, IA
Author's primary institution

Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention, Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, IA

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